Being a school nurse can be a real test of patience, and I like to use it as my excuse for having none left for after work hours. Today was another day of screening, and not nearly as fun as sitting in the kindergarten classes testing for color vision deficiencies. (Yes, it's a deficiency, not a blindness.) I thought it would go faster and be less trying than doing mass screening on the kindergartners, but in hindsight, that was just wishful thinking. Some of the kids made me want to pull my hair out. At least when they are five years old I can tell myself they are just too young to understand how to follow a complex direction such as "Clap your hands when you hear the sound." But at seven? There are those that can't understand because they just can't understand, and those that can't understand because I am speaking English. For both camps of children, I have to wonder how much they are learning in an English speaking classroom full of 30 noisy children when they can't follow simple one on one directions in a nearly silent library. Again, this job is making me fear for our future generation.
I do realize one explanation may be that I am in an uncharacteristically poor performing school, and I found one reason why today. One group in particular was out of control in the library, so the other nurse and I walked them back to their classroom to tell the teacher in no uncertain terms that her kids were awful. Stepping foot in the classroom, it was immediately clear why. The entire room was chaos: kids running around, writing with whiteboard markers on their desks (obviously an assignment, but most were drawing their names rather than math problems), everyone talking, and objects strewn about more messily than the messiest state I ever let my own room get in (and that's saying a lot). Ironically, the CD player was playing some sort of peaceful nature music, but it was mostly drowned out by the shouting. The chaotic state was something akin to the unruly state classrooms with substitute teachers are portrayed as in the movies: sort of funny, but a total waste of every child's time and every taxpayer's penny. Sadly, it turns out there have been many complaints about this teacher but nothing can be done: tenure rears its ugly side again.